Babies given anti-obesity drugs in the womb
One hundred obese mums-to-be will be given Metformin as part of a three-year study to tackle obesity rates and reduce the number of difficult births.
Patients at Liverpool Women’s Hospital will be given the drug to reduce the food supply to their unborn babies, although it will not help the mums themselves to lose weight.
Leading the trial, senior lecturer in obstetrics, Dr Andrew Weeks, said: “It is about trying to improve outcomes in pregnancy for women who are overweight.
“The problem is babies tend to be larger and many of the downsides of being overweight during pregnancy relate to the birth.”
Metformin reduces blood sugar levels which are passed onto babies in the womb, and is already regularly used to treat diabetic mums-to-be, as well as diabetics in general.
During the study, half of the patients will take Metformin pills up to three times a day from 12 weeks gestation, while the other half will be given placebo drugs.
Doctors hope it will prevent the birth of oversized babies, thereby reducing the need for caesarean sections.
Instances of pre-eclampsia, the potentially fatal complication in pregnancy common to overweight mothers, are also hoped to be reduced.
The trial will run as a joint study between hospitals in Liverpool, Coventry and Edinburgh and will monitor over 400 women in total.